Você está na página 1de 5

Parents turn to Uber to shuttle kids,

even though it's not allowed


By Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel on 08.30.17
Word Count 952
Level MAX

Emily Lieber, 14, (left) and her brother, Liam Lieber, 13, ran into a problem when using Uber. When the driver showed up, he
told the Hollywood teens they were too young. Emily called another Uber. Some harried parents and their equally harried kids
are relying on Uber to get where they need to go, from school to ballet or football practice, even though it's technically against
company rules. Photo from Mike Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida- Teenager Emily Lieber needed a ride home from the bus stop,
so she did what her parents might do: She called Uber.

When the driver showed up, he told the Hollywood, Fla., teen, then 13, that she was too young
to ride. So she called another Uber. And o she went.

Emily is one of many teens who are turning to ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to help
them meet their busy schedules, particularly as school starts back up. Some parents even use
the services to get their children to school.

It's against company policy- but it is not illegal- for drivers to pick up anyone under 18 unless
they have an adult with them, but many drivers do it anyway and many parents don't know it
violates the rules.

This article is available at 5 reading levels at https://newsela.com. 1


Teens who violate Uber's under-18 rule risk losing their account said company spokeswoman
Jodi Page. She said some underage riders have been removed from the app, but she declined
to say how many.

Uber ocials would neither explain the reason for the under-18 rule nor answer questions
about how they are enforcing it. They also declined to say what happens to drivers who
transport underage riders.

"Our terms and conditions and community guidelines specically state that an account holder
needs to be an adult (18 or older) to have an account," Page said via email. "If not, a parent or
guardian must be with them at all times. When riders sign up they agree to follow this policy."

But some say Uber is well aware of the growing trend that bucks their own policy.

"They know what's happening and are looking the other way," said Harry Campbell, a Los
Angeles-based blogger at The Rideshare Guy. "It's kind of a mess for drivers because they're
getting tons of requests for rides from teens and Uber is not doing anything (to enforce its own
rule)."

Lyft ocials declined to answer any questions for this story.

Critics say parents who let their kids take Uber and Lyft are taking a risk because their drivers
aren't put through the same rigorous background checks applied to cab drivers.

"Just because an app makes it easy, doesn't mean it's safe - or wise," said Dave Sutton,
spokesman for WhosDrivingYou.org, a taxi industry group that is pushing for stricter screening
rules for Uber and Lyft drivers.

"It's important to screen out a bad driver ahead of time," Sutton said. "Once you're in the car,
it's too late." Yellow Cab President John Camillo says his company requires intensive
background checks conducted by law enforcement.

"Every driver is ngerprinted," he said. "If my driver does not use the proper name, you can't
fool the ngerprints. They are sent to the FBI and they do a national search. I think our
background checks are innitely better."

All Uber drivers undergo a background check that includes a review of their driving record and
criminal history, Page said. The screening is done by a background check service accredited
by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. Uber also provides live
GPS tracking and a "Share My Trip" feature that lets customers share trip details in real time
with family and friends, she said.

Still, some Uber drivers have been accused of crimes against their passengers, critics note.

A year ago, a Boca Raton, Fla., man working as an Uber driver was arrested after three
women accused him of rape in three separate incidents. And in May, an Uber driver in
Kissimmee, Fla., was accused of raping a 14-year-old customer traveling alone who had
requested a ride to her aunt's house.

This article is available at 5 reading levels at https://newsela.com. 2


South Florida mom Rhonda Tescher has seen the headlines, but lets her 15-year-old daughter
take Uber as long as she has two friends along.

"I never let her take it by herself," she said.

Allyson Tomchin, Emily's mom, had no clue about Uber's "no unaccompanied minors" policy
and neither did her children, who range in age from 13 to 17.

Tomchin says her kids started using Uber a couple of years ago because it's convenient and
cheap. To catch a ride, customers just download a free app and pay for rides using their
smartphones.

Tomchin's step-daughter Emily, now 14, has taken Uber dozens of times and was denied a
ride for being underage only that one time.

"It doesn't surprise me the company has that rule, but it's denitely not being enforced,"
Tomchin said.

She said Uber has been a godsend for her and her husband, Rand Lieber.

"We have super busy schedules and so do the kids," she said. "We're all doing dierent things
at dierent times. Uber helps us accommodate everyone's schedule."

She also thinks her kids will be safe as long as they Uber together.

"I know the name of the driver, the license plate and the route they're driving," she said. But
not every parent is a fan.

Jennifer Rosinski, a Cooper City, Fla., mom with four kids, says she would never send any of
them o on their own with an Uber driver.

"I don't think it's safe," she said. "I'm just not comfortable putting my child in a car with
someone I don't know."

Boca Raton dad Bruce Gipson says his 17-year-old daughter has taken Uber a few times to
get to and from work - without his knowledge.

"I didn't know she'd used it until I asked her how she got home," he said. "I'm not real thrilled
about it because you don't know who's picking you up."

Gipson, a retired Miami Beach reghter, says he had no idea about Uber's ban on
transporting minors. Now, he said, he no longer has to worry about it.

"I bought her a car in December," he said.

This article is available at 5 reading levels at https://newsela.com. 3


Quiz

1 According to the article, some parents believe that Uber is a safe alternative to taxicabs.

Which sentence from the article BEST supports this idea?

(A) "Our terms and conditions and community guidelines specically state that an
account holder needs to be an adult (18 or older) to have an account," Page
said via email.

(B) Yellow Cab President John Camillo says his company requires intensive
background checks conducted by law enforcement.

(C) Uber also provides live GPS tracking and a "Share My Trip" feature that lets
customers share trip details in real time with family and friends, she said.

(D) South Florida mom Rhonda Tescher has seen the headlines, but lets her 15-
year-old daughter take Uber as long as she has two friends along.

2 Which option provides an accurate and objective summary of the article?

(A) Although Ubers guidelines state that riders under 18 must be accompanied by
an adult, parents are relying on Uber to help as a way to get children to and
from school and activities, which has led to a debate about Ubers safety and
reliability.

(B) Because of the feature that allows users to track the route and the plate
number, many parents are certain that Uber is a safe way for their children to
get to and from school activities without having to spend too much money or
coordinate busy schedules.

(C) Uber has recently become popular among children whose parents are too busy
to pick them up from school or activities; however, many adults are concerned
that unaccompanied minors taking an Uber poses a great danger.

(D) While most Uber drivers are trustworthy people, some parents are concerned
that Ubers lack of background checks and accountability for their drivers spells
danger for the many children who are using Uber as a way to get to and from
school and activities.

3 Which sentence BEST summarizes HOW Uber has aected Allyson Tomchin?

(A) Uber has caused Tomchin annoyance because it refused to pick up her
underage daughter.

(B) Uber has created more time in Tomchins day because she no longer has to
drive her children places.

(C) Uber has given Tomchin peace of mind because she fully trusts the company.

(D) Uber has simplied Tomchins life by providing reliable, aordable


transportation for her children.

This article is available at 5 reading levels at https://newsela.com. 4


4 What are the reasons WHY Uber may NOT be the safest ride-sharing option?

(A) Uber drivers do not undergo background checks like drivers from other ride-
sharing companies do; Uber has a history of violent drivers; Uber refuses to
comment on how it enforces its policies and why its policies were created in the
rst place.

(B) Uber drivers do not undergo as rigorous a screening process as other ride-
sharing companies; Uber drivers have been accused of rape; Uber has not
been forthcoming about the reasons behind its policies; Uber's policies are
randomly enforced.

(C) Uber drivers only have to present a driving record and undergo a brief
background check; Uber's safety record is signicantly worse than those of
other ride-sharing companies; some Uber drivers are not held accountable for
their actions; only a handful of Uber drivers know and follow the company's
rules.

(D) Uber drivers undergo a less rigorous screening process than other ride-sharing
companies; Uber's only safety feature is the GPS tracking app it provides;
Uber's drivers have made headlines for the crimes they have committed; Uber's
leaders do not hold their drivers accountable for problems.

This article is available at 5 reading levels at https://newsela.com. 5